Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

Bestsellers Lost and Found

At Sheffield Hallam University this Saturday (November 18th) there will be  a presentation about ‘Bestsellers Lost and Found’, based on the 1937 set of cigarette cards: Famous British Authors. Here’s a sample of the writers that Wills chose to commemorate: Advertisements

Are Poppies Racist?

[D]uring the last few years an exceptionally debased form of pacifism, growing out of the philosophy of materialism, has attempted to divide us into two camps: on the one side ignorant, bloodthirsty militarists, and on the other enlightened pacifists. It is the object of the self-styled enlightened people to persuade the young that the war […]

Owen Rhoscomyl

The current issue of the Journal Of Military History prints my review of John E. Ellis’s very readable biography of ‘Owen Rhoscomyl‘ – one of the most extraordinary men of the early twentieth century that you have (probably) never heard of.

What Housman said

‘The Great War cannot have made much change in the opinions of any man of imagination.’ A.E. Housman

Handheld Press

This is just as note to say that I’ve heard from Kate Macdonald that her new venture Handheld Press is about to begin publishing. The first titles are reprints of Ernest Bramah’s 1907 political thriller What Might Have Been  ( a fantasy of what life might be like under a Labour government) and John Buchan’s The […]

Larkin and Greyfriars

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am rarely so enthusiastic as when exploring old issues of the Magnet comic, in which ‘Frank Richards’ each week delivered new instalments of the exploits of Harry Wharton, Billy Bunter and co. at Greyfriars School. Visiting Hull just in time to catch the deeply enjoyable Philip […]

‘Spy’ by Bernard Newman

The excellent news that came to me this week is that the grandchildren and step-grandchildren of Bernard Newman have taken control of his literary estate, and are engaged on the project of republishing his books. I have therefore spent two very enjoyable train journeys reading his Spy of 1935. This tells how he, Bernard Newman, […]

Housman and Kipling

I’ve recently been reading, with great pleasure, Housman Country by Peter Parker. It is a commentary on A Shropshire Lad, but not the usual kind of critical work. It looks at the book’s origins and influence, with plenty of interesting diversions, many of which are about the poems’ role in the twentieth-century definition of ‘Englishness’, […]

‘The Many Lives of Arnold Bennett’ at Keele

The fourteenth annual Arnold Bennett Conference was held at Keele University last weekend, and was an extremely enjoyable affair. Samira Ahmed It began on Friday evening, when Samira Ahmed, the BBC radio and television presenter, gave a public lecture. Her topic was ‘What can Bennett Teach Post-Brexit Britain?’ This was a lively talk, and her […]

Galsworthy’s ‘Windows’ at the Finborough

Galsworthy’s 1922 play Windows has not had a professional production for eighty-five years, and I can see why. It’s an uncomfortable play, one designed to make the typical West End audience of its time feel uneasy. Which is what makes it interesting. Those in charge of the Finborough Theatre are once again to be congratulated […]